LANCASTER — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to get their Influenza (flu) shots as soon as possible due to increasing influenza activity in parts of the country and expected further increases in the coming weeks and months.
Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) will help in this effort by offering free flu shots to all adults over 18 on Saturday, February 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in The Café on J, which is located on the first floor of the hospital.
“We have recently become aware that a growing number of adults within our community are having difficulty finding clinics or pharmacies who still offer flu shots,” said Edward Mirzabegian, AVH Chief Executive Officer. “Although we haven’t yet seen a significant increase of influenza cases in the Antelope Valley, this flu season has already become one of the worst on record, and we want to ensure that all adults in our community have a convenient way to receive a free flu shot.”
Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization, or even death. Each year, there are 25-50 million cases of flu in the U.S. and it causes the hospitalization of over 200,000 Americans.
Traditionally, the winter season is the peak time of year when flu outbreaks occur, but the exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary.
This year’s vaccine is formulated to provide protection against three different flu viruses: H1N1, H3N2 and influenza B.
Although it takes about two weeks for full immunity to build after vaccination, the flu outbreak is projected to increase for at least the next several weeks, so it’s not too late to get a flu shot and have it be effective against the flu.
Annual vaccinations are strongly recommended for everyone over six months of age. In addition, good hand hygiene, including frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding close contact with those who are sick with the flu, and staying at home while experiencing flu-like symptoms, will help prevent the spread of the disease.